Around le Café Wittifini, we hold November 19 as a date deserving great respect, reminiscence and sadness within celebration.
Tina’s mom passed away on November 19, 1995 — just 16 years ago. There’s no time limit on mourning the loss of a loved one, not to me anyway. Hell, Alfred Lord Tennyson penned In Memoriam over 17 years, and there’s no evidence he ever got over the passing of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam who died suddenly from some kind of brain hemorrhage at a young age.
Like Hallam, Tina’s mom JoAnn died suddenly and too young as well. It was from complications of a heart attack.
Unfortunately, I never met JoAnn. From stories told around dinner tables and between Michael and Tina, I feel like I’ve gotten to know an essence that is Tina’s mom.
What is certain is that JoAnn was a loving, hard-working mother. She kept a few jobs at a time to put Tina and Michael through school. She accepted Michael’s homosexuality unconditionally despite living in a time when acceptance wasn’t popular. She loved Tina beyond measure, and they were closer than best friends. Sometimes it makes me jealous how close Tina and her mom must have been.
About two weeks ago, Tina transferred several old VHS tapes to DVD. One of the tapes was a group of student projects that Tina did back when she went to Columbia. There was one short video in which a dude’s dude goes to get a haircut and leaves the salon as a transvestite.
It was awful.